Cortland legislator and Democratic minority leader Beau Harbin is one of 40 graduates in the inaugural class of the Appalachian Leadership Institute.
The program is sponsored by the Appalachian Regional Commission to further community leadership and economic development across the 13-state territory.
Harbin was one of just two fellows representing New York.
“I am very proud to have taken part in this wonderful opportunity and to now call myself an Appalachian Leadership Institute Fellow,” Harbin said. “Along with the other members of my class, we have helped to knit together a new generation of leaders for Appalachia.”
Due to COVID-19, Harbin and his classmates attended a virtual ceremony but will also graduate in person next summer in Washington, D.C.
Appalachia makes up 420 counties across 13 states, spanning 205k square miles from southern New York to northern Mississippi.
It includes all of West Virginia and parts of Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.
“One of the biggest lessons I have learned from this experience is that we are more alike than different. Our communities across the region share many of the same issues, and we see similar opportunities,” continued Harbin. “I look forward to continuing the journey with my fellows from this class, and from future classes, to help our communities and our region find solutions to our shared problems and celebrate our shared successes.”